The Walking Dead has always been a shocking television series — and not just because of the numerous tension-filled encounters with the undead. The hit AMC show often introduces surprising elements to keep viewers on their toes, like killing off beloved characters with little to no warning. So it should come as no surprise that producers are introducing a new twist in the upcoming season, one that left star Andrew Lincoln “shocked.”
In the Season 8 trailer unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con in July, viewers were treated to a scene of an older, gray-haired Rick lying in bed.
Comic book fans recognized the scene as one that takes place after the fall of Negan and the Saviors when the comic jumped ahead in time by two years.
Producers are still playing coy about what that scene could mean for the series, saying only that it will become clearer after the season premiere.
“I was shocked and kind of excited by it,” says Lincoln in a new interview, recounting his reaction upon first learning about the flash-forward.
But is it actually a glimpse of the future, or could it be some sort of delusion or dream that Rick will have in the upcoming season?
“I mean, it’s a gray Rick,” says Lincoln. “It’s an older Rick. So by virtue of the fact that you see, that means that it’s in the future.”
Lincoln reiterates that the question of whether the scene is real or merely a dream sequence will become slightly less opaque after the season’s first episode airs.
Some fans have even posited that the scene is proof of a long-running theory regarding the show: that Rick never actually awakened from his coma in the first episode and has dreamt the entire series. We’ll find out for sure when The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, October 22, 2017.